Most students accepted for graduate work in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences receive financial support in the form of a fellowship, a teaching assistantship, or a research assistantship. This normally includes remission of tuition. The combination of an assistantship or a fellowship plus tuition remission readily enables a graduate student to be self-supporting in a comfortable, if frugal, fashion.
Our Department, in conjunction with the Graduate School, offers Wheeler Fellowships to outstanding new or advanced students interested in Earth or planetary sciences and Tolman Fellowships to first-year students with an interest in terrestrial geology. The McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences offers Astronaut Fellowships and McDonnell Fellowships that provide for tuition and a stipend to students interested in space sciences, including planetary science. Fellowships are also available through the Missouri Space Grant Consortium. The University offers Olin Fellowships for women graduate students and Chancellor's Graduate Fellowships. Students holding fellowships may be offered the opportunity to assist in teaching undergraduate laboratories.
Most new students are supported for their first year of graduate work by Teaching Assistantships. This normally amounts to 15 to 20 hours per week of preparing for and teaching undergraduate laboratory sections, assisting with grading, and providing special help to undergraduate students. Students who have chosen major professors are usually supported on Research Assistantships through research grants of their professors after the first year of graduate work. Graduate students also are encouraged to write grant proposals for thesis-project support to the National Science Foundation, Sigma Xi, and the Geological Society of America. Occasionally students are admitted on tuition grants from the Graduate School but without further support for their first year.
We encourage, but do not require, every graduate student to teach for at least one semester. We find that teaching is an excellent means of fixing scientific concepts firmly in one's mind, and it provides excellent training in expressing those concepts clearly and simply.